From IndieWeb

Engaging Beginners was a session at IndieWebCamp Baltimore 2018.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVcf84hnUEQ

Notes archived from: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/engagingbeginners

IndieWebCamp Baltimore 2018

Session: Engaging Beginners

When: 2018-01-20 16:00



Jonathan Prozzi has been talking at recent HWC Baltimore meetups about ways to engage newcomers. Goal is to identify some chunks that fit into ~1 hour sessions at HWC quiet writing hour to onboard people. Or perhaps online sessions? or webinars? (why not!)

  • need a domain? here's how to register one.
  • here's how to get hosting
  • here's how to start a wordpress site
  • here's how to start a static site on GitHub

Could be used in-person at other HWCs, could be online.

Has everyone at the current camp managed to get themselves logged into the wiki and know where the chat is and how to use it? Chris Aldrich lurked in the wiki for 2 years before "officially" joining...

Q: why do we need to sign in to the wiki? Several answers:

  • wiki is where the community documents its history
  • IRC People ties chat names to websites
  • The wiki also has a huge number of resources, particularly for things one can do with a website now that really weren't available on "traditional" sites.
  • Web_sign-in#Why

Something to watch out for: free domains. You don't really own the domain if a service is "giving" it to you for free.

  • Example from HWC Baltimore - a student has a .art domain through her art school. Has since graduated and is not sure how to change her hosting. Needed to do some sleuthing to find who owned the domain. Seems like the university, but who to contact there?
  • Can we identify these to help newcomers from using them?
  • Can we create a page of recommended services/providers?
  • GoDaddy has made some reasonable strides in the last few years.
    • In-person attendees grumbled about GoDaddy but realized we were being impolitic. ;}
  • Question is to prep newcomers for the amount of overhead/admin tax of moving from things like WordPress.com to WordPress.org
    • If what they've got is good enough, then why not stay?
    • Do they want/need backfeed? micropub? etc.
    • Taking some small baby steps is fine, particularly while they're "kicking" the tires.

Proposed activity: choose and register a domain

  • why is a domain important for online identity?
  • how to register it and with who
    • suggested "good" registrars
    • signs of lock-in and other red flags of anti-features.

Larger goal, develop a curriculum structure

  • write a super simple micropub endpoint in an hour ( Aaron Parecki just did it for a session here at IWC Baltimore)
  • add microformats to your theme
  • set up a new WP site with IndieWeb plugins

Or could we, as a group, set up a deal with a solid provider that gives an affiliate deal to IndieWeb (the organization) to support group activities in lieu of "free" registration for people for the first year or similar deals?

A lot of people are coming in and wanting to replace their presences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinboard, Delicious, Flickr, etc. How can we offer something that does _that_ instead of starting from a much simpler place? Possible quick replacements:

  • Micro.blog
  • Known
  • Wordpress with plugins (less quick!)
  • Quick but super dirty: request a data dump and host that
  • Difference between replacing the "activity" of using Twitter day to day vs. moving your Twitter archive.

Matt has seen newbies hit stumbling blocks that they didn't expect, but are "part of how it works"

  • i registered a domain ... now i need a hosting provider?
  • i have a server ... now i need to install software?
  • ...

Could we have some meta-level lessons that demystify?

  • amyhurst.com: "how the web works" and being independent on the web is different from IndieWeb.
    • "uppercase vs lowercase" indie web vs IWC
    • "get them hooked" with "i want a website or a job making websites"
    • then get them engaged w/ the community

Folks have existing ideas about what a "personal website" does.

  • professional presence on the web
  • portfolio
  • "personal brand"
  • blog
  • may not think about being able to replace social media
    • sometimes the news gives us strong incentives to show people that silo-deaths should be defended against
      • HuffPo shutting down their blogging network
      • Shutdown of Gothamist and DNA Info
  • In the publishing world there's the concept of an "Author Platform" and writer's are heavily encouraged by publishing companies to have a web presence to promote both themselves and their writing, books, etc.
  • Creating "Personal Learning Networks"
  • Promoting a hobby
  • A personal (but potentially public) journal
  • An online commonplace book

Aaron Parecki is planning to do a ~45 minute video about making a from-scratch Micropub server.

  • a good template could be "plan a 45 minute how-to video"
    • make as many assumptions as you want, don't cover all bases in one go
      • "we're going to set up wordpress with bridgy to POSSE to twitter"

Chris Aldrich has a few outlines for creating videos for some one-function websites like this. Most people are only one a small handful of silos, so targeting these by silo could be VERY usefu.

  • eg: How to build a book blog/site that replaces most of the functionality of GoodReads

Create list of hosting providers that have good Gen2-3 UI for setting up and creating web presence. (ie no command line tools)

Marty McGuire idea for "Manual Until it Hurts" series

  • Chris Aldrich has noticed a lot of WordPress users who have Indiewebified are a bit lost because they're missing some of the knowledge that comes from manual until it hurts

virtual HWC where people could build some of the above?

tutorials we wish we had?


See Also